Some of the most exciting innovations in financial technology are leveraging the blockchain, a system of record-keeping that was created for the digital currency bitcoin but whose wider potential is now being explored by financial institutions worldwide. On July 28, bankers, technologists, entrepreneurs and regulators will gather in New York for American Banker’s third annual Blockchains + Digital Currencies conference to discuss this rapidly evolving phenomenon.
“In a few short years, blockchain technology and digital currencies have gone from far-fringe to almost-mainstream,” said Marc Hochstein, Editor in Chief of American Banker. “Major financial institutions, tech companies and others are now actively experimenting with distributed ledgers for everything from payments to securities settlement, from notary services to identity management. Yet for all the energy and capital (more than $1 billion from angel and venture investors) that has congregated in this young fintech sector, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the future.”
The event will confront the hard questions facing the blockchain sector: Do open networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum offer the most value to commercial enterprises or are they better off using their own proprietary blockchains? What can a “permissioned” blockchain do that a traditional database can’t? Will regulatory initiatives at the state and federal levels and around the world hold back innovation in this space or give it room to flourish?
The conference, to be held at Convene Midtown East, will explore what banks have learned from their pilot projects, how regulators’ views on cryptocurrency have evolved and where innovation is heading next. Industry experts will address the regulatory and risk questions that continue to swirl around digital currencies, the challenge of satisfying competing demands such as privacy versus transparency, and the prospects for financial inclusion and data standardization. The diverse range of speakers spans disciplines from traditional banking and regulation to bleedingedge crypto, and includes:
- Bill Barhydt, Founder and CEO, Abra
- Jeff Garzik, CEO and Co Founder, Bloq, Inc.
- Allan Mendelowitz, president of ACTUS Financial Research Foundation and former board member of the Federal Housing Finance Board
- Eddy Ortiz, vice president of solution acceleration and innovation at Royal Bank of Canada
- Elissa Shevinsky, CEO of Stealth Crypto Company
- Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn, founder of Zcash
- Hank Uberoi, Chief Executive Officer of Earthport
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